The political arena is now heated because of the book written by former Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha. The ruling Awami League and BNP have taken different stands over this book. According to Awami League, `Justice Sinha lied in this book (A Broken Dream). The book has been written to cover Sinha’s mischief." On the other hand, the BNP leaders said,"The book of Sinha is a document of government`s shameless intervention on the judiciary." The civil society of the country did not stand behind. One has quoted, `This book is a disclosure of scandal.`
We, the Bangladeshis, are a kind of nation who loves to forget past easily. I did not come to justify Justice Sinha`s words that have been written in his book. Rather I present this writing to remind everyone that this type of book has been written in the past and the words of those books were even more intense.
Abu Sadat Mohammad Sayem was appointed as the first Chief Justice of Bangladesh. Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman appointed Sayem as chief justice within 48 hours of his return to home. On November 6, 1975, Khaled Mosharraf appointed Justice Sayem as the Chief Martial Law Administrator and President. Khaled Mosharraf was killed in a counter-coup of Col (retd.) Taher on November 7. Ziaur Rahman became the army chief. Although Zia came to power through Nvember 7 coup, he kept Sayem in office as Chief Martial Law Administrator and President. During his days in Bangabhaban, Justice Sayem wrote a book titled `At Bangabhaban: Last Phase`. The book was published in 1988. Within seven days of BNP`s tenure in 1991, the Home Ministry confiscated and banned the book with a notification. The book of 273 pages contains the arbitrariness and tyranny of the then army chief. On page 23 of the book it has been said, "A military decree regarding the cancellation of the 4 pillars of the Constitution comes to me for signature ... ... I do not sign it, and keep it. ... I woke up in the sound of boots and footsteps at 11pm next day. The Chief of Army Staff Zia entered my bedroom with weapons in Bangabhaban. ... Ziaur Rahman lifted his legs with his boot on my bed and said, sign it. He carried stick in one of his hands and a revolver in the other...``
The last section of the book is dramatic. ... `Zia came to Bangabhaban at midnight with arms. His companions heaved their arms... I thought that was probably my last night... One night he threw a paper on my bed and said, sign it ... I read the paper. It was my resignation letter. It says, `I have resigned as President because of illness.` I looked at Ziaur Rahman. By the time eight to ten armed men surrounded my bed with arms. Zia again lifted his leg on my bed, aimed his weapon targeting my chest and said, sign it. I have somehow saved my life by signing the letter....."
Those, who are lamenting for Sinha today and saying that such behavior with the chief justice is unprecedented, are actually weeping to cover Sinha`s corruption and laxity. Will they kindly read `At Bangabhaban: Last Phase` written by Bangladesh`s first Chief Justice Abu Sadat Mohammad Sayem?
Translated from the article originally written in Bengali by Syed Borhan Kabir